How to make the case for supporter loyalty

How to make the case for supporter loyalty

Guest Bloggers | 28 August 2019

Ahead of his session at next month's Supporter Experience conference on 'proving how a better experience leads to more support' Richard Spencer, alongside his colleague at About Loyalty Roger Lawson, explain how to get buy-in for good supporter experience from senior leaders, and how doing this can mean creating your own charity champions.

We often hear people say that it's difficult to make the case for investing in a good supporter experience. Too often it’s seen as a ‘nice to have’ up against the mighty ‘must have’ that is income this year.

In some of the more positive discussions I’ve seen people making the case for investing in a good experience by saying that “it’s a leap of faith”.

But it is far from a leap of faith.

There is plenty of evidence available that shows that investing in a good experience leads directly to short, medium and long-term gains in income, contribution and lifetime value.

About Loyalty has now researched over 87,000 donors from 24 charities and is building on the original evidence that growing emotional loyalty is critical to long term income.

Our research shows that the three most important drivers of emotional loyalty are commitment, satisfaction and trust. It also quantifies how important each of these is in terms of growing future income.

It shows that a one point increase in the three drivers of loyalty leads to a 5.2% increase in repeat giving.

Those with high loyalty more likely to continue giving

We also now know that supporters with high loyalty are four times more likely to be keen to continue giving, seven times more likely to intend to leave you a gift in their will and eight times more likely to recommend you!

We’ve seen a number of large charities recently report a drop in income. Often, the first response is to go on an acquisition crusade, investing in donor recruitment with plans to pay back in two, three, four or more years.

This can result in a busy, noisy and competitive environment, in which potential charity supporters are left pressured, confused and experiencing low emotional engagement, low loyalty – and low likelihood to stick around as supporters.

The first response should be to examine and understand the drivers of loyalty of existing supporters, and grow their loyalty. This then gives the best foundation for building more support through acquisition.

We have found that it’s the charities that grow loyalty that create armies of advocates – those champion supporters who will recommend, promote and build the movements for good that charities are looking to create.

Creating charity champions

The research from About Loyalty shows that one of the most important factors in creating charity champions is that a supporter feels that the charity understands why they offer their support.

This sounds simple. But in fact requires two separate things to happen:

1. Firstly, the charity needs to understand what its supporters motivations are, and why they offer their support.
2. Secondly, the charity then needs to reflect this in the way it communicates with its supporters.

The research shows that charities that are getting these right are the ones that have the most supporters who promote, champion and advocate on their behalf.

Investing in a good experience isn’t just about doing the right thing or a nice thing. It’s not just about protecting future income and support. It’s all this and more.

If you get this right then your supporters will be the ones who build more support for your cause, for your beneficiaries and help you make more impact.

Richard Spencer, Director at About Loyalty, will be running a session on 'proving how a better experience leads to more support' at the Supporter Experience Conference on Monday 16 September 2019. Find out more about the full programme and make a booking here

About Loyalty gives charities the ability to measure the loyalty of their donors and benchmark the scores against other charities. Institute of Fundraising members get a 10% discount with About Loyalty to take part in the Chase Index.

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